On Monday, as the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris was ablaze, millions of Catholics around the world were distraught at the prospect not only of losing a building dearly beloved to them, but also the numerous religious artifacts inside the structure.
But this is where the French showed genuine heroism. Not only did the Chaplain of the Paris Firefighters plunge into the blaze to save the Blessed Sacrament and the Crown of Thorns, but a human chain of firefighters was formed to save the treasures inside.
Fr Fournier, Chaplain of the Paris Firefighters, went into the blaze with the firefighters to save the Blessed Sacrament and the Crown of Thorns. https://t.co/eFfRxPNrBE
— PEG (@pegobry) April 15, 2019
Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo commented: “Thanks to the @PompiersParis, the police and the municipal agents who realized tonight a formidable human chain to save the works of #OurDame. The crown of thorns, the tunic of Saint Louis and several other major works are now in a safe place.”
Merci aux @PompiersParis, aux policiers et aux agents municipaux qui ont réalisé ce soir une formidable chaîne humaine pour sauver les œuvres de #NotreDame. La couronne d'épines, la tunique de Saint Louis et plusieurs autres œuvres majeures sont à présent en lieu sûr. pic.twitter.com/cbrGWCbL2N
— Anne Hidalgo (@Anne_Hidalgo) April 15, 2019
Additionally, French billionaire François-Henri Pinault said he and his family will give 100 million Euros for the reconstruction of the cathedral. Pinault’s son François-Henri Pinault, the president of the Artemis Group holding company, said, “This tragedy strikes all the French, and well beyond that, all those dedicated to spiritual values. Faced with such a tragedy, everyone wishes to revive this jewel of our heritage as quickly as possible.”
— AFP news agency (@AFP) April 15, 2019
As news.com.au reported, “France’s Interior Ministry said firefighters had managed to save the main structure and the building’s two bell towers, despite two-thirds of the roof and Notre Dame’s iconic spire destroyed. Among the most celebrated artworks inside are its three stained-glass rose windows, placed high up on the west, north and south faces of the cathedral. Its priceless treasures also include the Catholic relic, the crown of thorns, which is only occasionally displayed, including on Fridays during Lent.”
As for the Crown of Thrones, which originated in Jerusalem, it is traditionally kept in Sainte-Chappelle in Paris, which was built to house the crown. It is presented on the first Friday of each month and every Friday during Lent.